Nearly six months after the Air Force began withdrawing its aging F-15C and D Eagles from Kadena Air Base in Japan, the service is still trying to figure out its long-term plan to maintain a deterrent fighter presence at the Pacific region base. And permanently stationing a new force of fighters at Kadena is still being considered, Lt. Gen. Richard Moore, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, told Defense News.
The House is postponing consideration of the fiscal 2024 defense authorization bill while Congress works to resolve an impasse over the debt ceiling, lawmakers said May 10. House Armed Services Chairman Mike D. Rogers, R-Ala., abruptly announced on the evening of May 9 that the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, had been postponed indefinitely. The committee’s seven subcommittees had planned to mark up their sections of the bill May 11 and 12, with the full committee markup planned for May 23.
The Department of the Air Force has designated the Rapid Sustainment Office’s Predictive Analytics and Decision Assistant (PANDA)—an integrated artificial intelligence and machine learning tool for predictive maintenance—as a system of record. As the system of record for what the Air Force calls “Condition Based Maintenance Plus,” PANDA integrates AI and ML across a variety of aircraft maintenance data “to increase the operational reliability of our weapons systems before we project them forward when those aircraft are used in their operations,” Lt. Col Michael Lasher, an aircraft maintenance specialist in the service’s Rapid Sustainment Office, said.
For some time now, alarms have been sounding in the United States military over activities of Chinese and Russian spacecraft in orbit that are viewed as potentially threatening. To keep an eye on these potentially hazardous activities, military officials have called for improved capabilities to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in orbit, also known as space domain awareness.
Inside a test cell within General Electric’s facilities in Evendale, Ohio, lives the XA100, a prototype adaptive engine developed by the company for the F-35 that will likely not be powering the Joint Strike Fighter anytime soon, following the Air Force’s decision to instead fund an upgrade to the jet’s current F135 powerplant made by Pratt & Whitney. That’s why a small group of reporters was invited to the company’s facilities recently for a look at the engine itself, as well as the additive manufacturing techniques and ceramic matrix composites it leverages, as GE mounts a broader campaign to keep the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) alive.
Tomorrow’s missions may take U.S. special operators into places where they’d rather not control drones by hand, so the maker of the popular Black Hornet nano-drone has added a way to steer it by simple voice commands. U.S. operators began using the Black Hornet after seeing British forces flying them in Afghanistan in 2011. Years of experiments with optical and thermal cameras have turned the nano-drone into a key element of the U.S. Army’s soldier-borne sensor program. Now its manufacturer, Teledyne FLIR, has teamed up with AI startup Primordial Labs to add voice control.
The top acquisition official for U.S. Special Operations Command doesn’t plan to open an independent program office to deal with artificial intelligence, only because he believes that in short order AI will be so ubiquitous that it will be naturally be integrated into just about everything from operations to acquisitions. “I think artificial intelligence is a tide that lifts all boats,” Jim Smith, acquisition executive for USSOCOM, said in his keynote address to SOF Week 2023 in Tampa, Fla. on May 9.
The way modern Airmen and Guardians prepare for the future fight is changing, with live, virtual, and constructive training offering new ways to practice essential skills. Learn more about how virtual and augmented reality, simulated environments, and other technologies are helping train warfighters everywhere from the cockpit to the maintenance depot.
Troops with families could get $100 to $184 more money each month, on average, if the Defense Department were to boost Basic Allowance for Housing levels from 95 percent to the full 100 percent of their housing costs—eliminating the cost share that troops now shoulder. A recent DOD analysis, mandated by Congress, shows that if Pentagon leaders did decide to restore the full BAH level, as many lawmakers want, troops without dependents would get from $82 extra to $164 extra per month, on average.
A bipartisan group of senators is pushing to overhaul how the U.S. handles classified information, an effort spurred partly by the recent alleged leaks of top secret Pentagon documents on an internet forum by an Air National Guardsman. The package of bills unveiled May 10 by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., and other senators from both parties takes aim at overclassification, which senators say impedes the ability to protect truly sensitive information, and insider threats exemplified by the criminal charges against the Massachusetts airman, who had a clearance and access.
Only one Allied fighter jet saw combat in World War II. The Gloster Meteor was underpowered, arrived late, and inefficient. But it led the way into the jet age and once deflected a flying bomb headed to London by literally knocking it off track with its body.